A growing demand for local food and provincial regulations governing meat processing are driving a Floradale business’ bid for expansion.
Earlidale Meats is seeking a zone change to build a new processing plant on a 3.2-acre property at 2065 Floradale Rd.
A new 600-square-metre facility would join the existing 180-sq.-m. building, which would be converted to dry storage under a plan aired in a public meeting at Woolwich council Tuesday night.
The property is zoned for agricultural use, with site-specific provision for a custom meat processing operation with accessory retail sales. The application would see an expansion of that site-specific use, said director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley.
Representing owner Andrew Martin, Bob Black of RBA Planning Consultants said the proposal represents a “minor expansion” of the current agricultural-related industrial use on the property.
Earlidale Meats has been operating for some 20 years as a processor of various meats – beef, chicken, pork, turkey – that are brought in to the site, which does not house an abattoir, said Black.
The operation is subject to regular inspections, typically weekly, by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The proposed expansion will allow the business enough space to conform to new provincial directives about a work flow that avoids the possibility of cross-contamination of products, with the design of the building subject to OMAFRA approval, he explained.
The existing building would then be converted to storage for packaging materials and the spices used in processing the meats.
“It puts to use a perfectly sound building,” Black added.
In response to a question from Coun. Mark Bauman, he noted most of the business is wholesale, but Earlidale does have a retail component, as customers do like to stop by, particularly on the weekends.
Under the new plan, the site would house more parking, helping to avoid the current situation whereby people park on Floradale Road when they come to shop, said Black.
Martin’s Earlidale bid was supported by written comments from neighbours and customers. The only comment from the public at this week’s meeting was also in support.
“He has a good business there. He should be allowed to expand,” said Joe Martin of the Elmira Meat Market.
The November 21 meeting was for information purposes, with no decisions made. Planning staff will be assessing the proposal, along with public comments, before coming back with a recommendation at a later date.